Categories > Anime/Manga > Princess Tutu > Princess Tutu and the Secret Six


by paladin313 0 reviews


Category: Princess Tutu - Rating: PG - Genres: Crossover - Published: 2009-05-29 - Updated: 2009-05-30 - 10499 words - Complete



Billy waited until the right time before taking off, knowing he was playing with the date line, and had to time it right. He had called earlier, and Ahiru told him to meet her and her father at the front gate of the installation, so that her father would not grow suspicious on how he was able to get on post with no problem. He arrived in Tokyoas Captain Marvel, making sure to fly in below the radar to avoid a sudden"military escort" to this invader. He landed in the city near the installation, ducked into an alley, changed, and then approached the post. Ahiru and her father were at the gate to await him; they signed him in as a guest, gave him avisitor's pass, and a strict set of instructions as to where he could or could not go, and told him he had to be with either of these two for his time there. With the formalities out of the way, they began to take him back to the housing area. Immediately, Col. Arima was giving Billy the 3rd degree: how old are you, how long have you known Ahiru, what are your future plans, what are some of the things that the two of them had done, all this followed by his lecture on having respect for all those that showed honor and always sought to do the right things. Of course, he was sending subtle, but clear hints to Billy that he had better not do anything with his daughter that he was not pleased with-or else! This finally ended when they entered rather large apartment that someone of his rank would have attained, and they met her mother. Throughout the whole affair, Billy was acting like the perfect gentleman, and, at the same time, not laying one finger on Ahiru, lest her parents gain the wrong idea about his intentions with their daughter. When they entered, Mrs. Arima was far warmer in her reception, and her questioning was more out of getting to know her daughter's beau better than to act intimidating. They all sat down to a large lunch, and Billy's charm began to win over Ahiru's parents. Then, Mrs. Arima said, "I hear that you and your friends have formed some kind of an act. What is that all about?"

"Holy Moley," said Billy, (the first time he had ever used that term around Ahiru,) "Have we ever got an act!"

"What's it all about?" she then asked again.

"We dance ballet to all kinds of music, and we also play instruments and sing," he added, "and sometimes both. We call ourselves the Pas De Six."

"Is this just something for school, or..."asked Col. Ahiru.

"We are actually thinking about doing this professionally," said Billy, "and Mr. Katt, our teacher, is doing all he can to help us get it going."

"Won't that interfere with school?" her mother asked.

"Actually, we've worked out a rehearsal time that doesn't interfere at all, and Mr. Katt is doing all he can to coach us in that time," answered Billy, "We really have a killer act."

"If you were to 'hit it big,' as you say, would you have to drop out of school?" Col. Arima asked with a taint of concern in his voice.

"Mr. Katt said that there would be those in the business who would try to encourage this," said Billy, "However; I have a friend named Mr. Tawny, and he is in the business as a manager. Because he is a family friend, I know that he would not take advantage of this, and give us bookings that would suit us. Besides all this, we would not be going out for shows during school unless a situation was to be set up where it would not interfere with school. We do have to do things to stay in the public eye, though, because three of our members will have already graduated, and they will want to work, so we have to accommodate that."

"How will you do that?" asked Mrs. Arima.

"Right now, the three are looking into getting into the Fawcett City Ballet Company to further themselves, and to stay in the business," said Billy, "That way, we will all be fresh when we have performances. You know, it might help you to see some DVD's I had made up by the school. Since the record every show, this was no problem. I have one when our class did Dracula, one when our class did Cinderella, and one with all our variety show performances as the Pas De Six, including this year's alumni show. They wanted us in that, because they loved our act, and felt they could use us. Even Sasha Baryshnikov thinks we have something. Maybe this will give you an idea."

"Well, let's look at those after we eat?"said Mrs. Arima, genuinely happy that they would get a chance to see their daughter in action.

Billy made sure to start with the variety show, so that her parents may get a strong idea of what the act was all about. This was something Billy figured would be agood bargaining chip to keep Ahiru in that school. It started with their first show. "I am guessing the two other boys are Mytho and Fakir?" asked Mrs. Arima rhetorically, "I do believe that this is the first time I have ever seen them. The one dancing with Rue is Mytho, I assume?"

"That's right," said Ahiru.

"So, these are all your friends," asked her father, "The ones that you have told me about in your letters?"

"Then it seems natural that something like this would happen if you six are all that close," said her mother, "And who's the girl with the raven hair?"

"That's my twin sister, Mary," answered Billy.

"So, your sister's involved," said Col. Arima, now beginning to see that the people his daughter was with were trustworthy people, as well as beginning to see that Billy's intentions were honorable as well. He also had to admit that these kids were quite good. They began to see their daughter in an entirely different light now, and were now beginning to question why they ever pondered trying to take their daughter out of Kinkan. If they had not sent her there to start with, this would never have happened. They now realized that their actions were a bit selfish: they did not care about her finding something closer as much as it was that they missed their daughter, and did not want to miss her growing up. However, there were not many schools better than Kinkan, save maybe the New York City School of the Arts. Could she have had this chance elsewhere? Would she have had this chance here in Tokyo? Then they were mesmerized by the response of the audience, and Billy then explained that what they were about to see was completely off the cuff. This surprised Ahiru's parents even more. They put on agood number, and they were impressed on how professionally they were able to throw something together. They were even more impressed by their daughter, who seemed to be dancing as if she was possessed. "More of channeling that Princess Tutu there, honey?" asked her mother.

"That is exactly what I am doing?" she answered.

Billy then whispered, "Did you tell them?"

She whispered back, "I mentioned her, but I didn't tell them I was her."

"Good," he said, "They are not ready for that yet."

The next thing they saw was the Christmas show, which seemed to be even better than the first show, especially their encore. Then they saw the alumni show. Her parents then began to recognize some of the celebrities on the stage, and then said, "I didn't know that they had gone to Kinkan!"

"A few of them didn't" said Ahiru, "but the majority of did, and the extras are friends that they had made."

"Why did they have you six in the show?"asked Col. Arima.

"They liked what we had, and saw the future in us," said Billy.

After about 30 seconds of silence, Col. Arima said, "That settles it! Your going back to that school, whether you like it or not!" as if it had been Ahiru's idea to pull out. She rolled her eyes, smiled, and said, "Yes, papa," as if a bit dejected. When that was over, they put in Cinderella, and Billy knew that, if they were not yet convinced, (though it seemed as if they were,) this would do it. At this point Billy had his foot on a hassock, and his arms lay out on the top of the couch. About ten minutes into the show, she lay down on the couch, and lay her head on Billy's leg, putting both her hands on his thigh. Instinctively, Billy put his hand on her arm, and Ahiru brought her topside arm into such a fashion as to facilitate entwining her fingers into his, by putting her forearm atop his, and linking fingers. Col. Arima's face began to become a bit cross, and he looked like he was about to say something. However, Mrs. Arima caught onto this, and grabbed him by his shirt, pulled him in, and whispered, "Don't be such afuddy-duddy! Your daughter is growing up. Did you think you could keep her in a glass jar until she was thirty?"

He looked a bit ashamed, and then grumbled, "I was kind of hoping..."

"Oh you!" she said, and then took the same position as her daughter. She felt the romance in the air that the ballet they were now watching was giving off. Since they already knew about Mr. Katt, seeing him was not that odd. They were impressed with their daughter's dance with him. They were also later impressed with the pas de deux that the two now on the couch with them had done. It seemed passionate, but innocent at the same time. Mrs. Arima looked over at the kids, and saw the two of them smiling, occasionally looking at each other. Ahiru then sat up, seeing that her parents did not seem to disapprove with her display of affection, (better indicated by the position that her mother had taken with her father,) and then repositioned herself and Billy in such a fashion where they could both recline, and she could lay back with her own head on his chest, and her arms embracing his. Col. Arima began to stir a bit, but his wife pinched him. Then she whispered, "Come into the kitchen right now!"

"I don't like what I am seeing right now!"he said, "He's got his hands all over my daughter!"

"Oh, really!" she said, "And, please tell me how you were when we were that age?"

"That's what makes me worried!" he retorted.

"Honey, they are not doing anything wrong!" she snapped, but in such a fashion that the kids could not hear. She then said, "Come, and look at them."

When they looked over the counter into the living room, they noticed the video paused, Billy saw them, and said, "Oh, Iput it on pause until you came back," he said happily. She pulled him back, and said, "Now that is agentleman for you! Notice also that he has done nothing that she has not wanted. She has guided everything. I don't know who taught that boy, but you owe him or her thanks for teaching him how to treat your daughter right. Besides, you just might be looking at your future son-in-law, so you'd better get used to the sight! Now, grab some chips and sodas, and act like nothing's wrong."

He hung his head like a naughty little boy, and groused, "But honey..."

"Don't 'but honey' me, unless you want to get a good look at the couch tonight!" she said. He knew this was no idle threat, and had to concede to his wife. "Now you go in there and behave like everything is fine."

They returned with the sodas and bowls of chips, and Billy politely thanked them both. Ahiru, not even getting up from that position, grabbed a bowl for both her and Billy. Mrs. Arima took the same position as her daughter, and said, "Now, relax, would you, or, would you like me to tell them how shy a young man you were, and how I had to practically train you?"

He sighed, and then tried to focus his attention on the ballet, and his wife then told him, "Don't they make you feel young again?" and brought his hand up to kiss it. He then laughed to himself now seeing just how silly he had been. Maybe this young man would not make a bad son-in-law after all.

When it was about four in the afternoon, Billy said it would be time for him to go, and said that he would be by with Rue for the get together on the 23rd. He said that the DVD's were theirs to keep, and that he would send them any other shows that they had all done, so that they would always be able to see as to what their daughter was doing. Mrs. Arima thanked Billy for the kind gesture, and said, "That would make it like she was always here."

"That's the intent," said Billy.

"Billy," said Col. Arima, "I have to admit that I had my misgivings about you. Yet, you have shown me that you are a true gentleman, and that you have a big heart. Take good care of my baby duck."

"I shall do so with all my heart," said Billy, who then stood at attention, and saluted him, and he returned it. Ahiru then said that she would escort him to the gate. "Wait," said Mrs. Arima, "Do you have a place to stay? Do you need one?"

"Well, I already have a hotel room," he said, "and I do not want to impose."

"Oh, it would be no imposition at all,"she said.

"Well, the pass says that I only have today," he said, "and I do not want to put you through the paperwork of allowing me to stay here. I do thank you for the offer though."

"Well, then, I guess I will see you later," she said, "Good night."

"See you then," said Billy, and the two of them left.

Ahiru said, "Wow, I didn't think daddy would take this so well."

"He didn't," said Billy.

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"When you started to snuggle up," he explained, "if looks could kill, I would have been a pile of ash."

"What happened?" she then wondered.

"You should thank your mother," he answered, "I think she saw the fact that I let you initiate everything, in order to set your parents at ease about me. I also think that's why they went to the kitchen: to discuss the matter."

"How could you tell all that?" she then asked.

"When you work in the realm of the superhero," he said, "you learn how to be a detective, and observant. Besides, my theatre classes have taught me how to read faces and emotions in order to better depict them on stage. That comes in handy."

"Thanks," she said, "I'll have to remember that."

"I'll see you later this afternoon," he said, "I'll be around at about 6 P.M. and you need to excuse yourself to your room. By the time you get back it will be tomorrow morning, so they will not suspect anything. Get some rest, but you will also have some time to sleep on the flight. That way, your equilibrium will not be sent out of whack."

"Flight," she asked, "Where are we going?"

He sighed, and she noticed the cue, as they both said, "It's a surprise!"

That afternoon, Marvel and Rue met Ahiru outside the gate of the installation, and they then went to an abandoned alley. There they transformed, and he then said, "First, we are going to Area 51, where we will be catching our flight."

"Area 51!" Ahiru exclaimed, "Isn't that where there is supposed to be UFO fragments and things like that?"

"Well, that's not quite it," he said, as he lifted the two of them of the ground, "There are certain things that the people would be better off not knowing, and certain things that need to be severely protected. One of them is the JLA craft that we shall be riding on."

"So, we're not going to New York?" asked Claire.

"The number of heroes that are going to be at this gathering would be a prime target for any old foe," said Billy, "This is why the JLA main headquarters are where they are: to assist in the safety factor."

They had not realized it, but they had been traveling quite fast. They had not noticed the speed due to their changed state, which protected them from the high speed that Marvel could achieve. They crossed over the coast, into Arizona, and to Area 51. He landed outside the gate, gave the correct password, and they acknowledged the two guests that he had informed them about beforehand. Even though Marvel was atrusted sight there, they still kept a close escort on them because of his guests. They entered a room, and went down a set of stairs. A large craft that looked otherworldly sat before them. It had the Justice League logo on the side. As they entered the very spacious craft, Rue said, "Where on earth are we going?"

"We're not!" said Marvel. As he said this, large doors opened up before them to reveal a long tunnel that seemed to curl up at the end. He then said, "Strap down, because we are going to be picking up quite a bit of thrust."

The craft lifted up, started to move, and then they began to move as if they had been shot out of a cannon. The tunnel began to arc upward, and then eventually went straight up at the same speed. Ahead of them, a door slid open, and they redoubled their speed. They had achieved about 15,000 feet in amatter of seconds, as they cut a loud sonic boom. They were going no faster than three G's at that moment, but the other two were surprised how easily they were taking things, both at that time, and when Marvel had carried them there. Their enhanced bodies gave them the ability to withstand this kind of thrust. Through rear windows, the girls began to watch as the ground receded away quickly. "Okay," shouted Tutu over the sound of wind rushing by them, "I get that it is not on earth. So, where are we going?"

She had to hush herself halfway through her question, because they had left Earth's atmosphere at that moment, and the sound was no longer heard. Marvel answered, "The Moon."

"The Moon?" said Rue, "Why are we going there?"

"That was the safest place to put the main base," said Marvel, "and we have several of these craft for those heroes, like you two, that cannot get there under their own power. Of course, these are far better than what NASA can provide: a normal three-day trip to the moon only takes about six hours in this thing. Oh, get ready, we are using a gravity assist from the Earth to gain speed, and then the engines will take it from there."

They whipped around the Earth, gaining speed as they went, enough to break earth's gravitational pull, and then the engines kicked in again at full throttle, thrusting them back into their seats. Once the proper speed had been achieved, the engines cut out, and Marvel set it on autopilot. "You to can unbuckle now, but be careful": said Marvel, "you are weightless now, so even the slightest push can send you tumbling."

They unstrapped, and pushed up slightly. They easily floated off their seats, and they had to put their hands up to keep from bumping the ceiling. Marvel said, "Pull yourselves along, and push off walls to go where you want."

The weightless state seemed to give the craft eight times more space than it did actually possess. Claire and Tutu were loving it, bouncing around, and doing spins and summersaults, even doing a ballet move or another. Of course, once Tutu started spinning in pirouettes, she could not stop. "Um, could someone help me please?" she asked frantically, "I think I am going to hurl!"

Quickly, Marvel came up and stopped her spin. "Careful," he said, "Here, there is nothing that will stop you quickly, because the ground is not underneath you to cause friction, and slow you down. Only the air would, and that would take some time."

He then guided them to one of the windows, and the watched as the Earth slowly receded behind them. "In my wildest dreams," said Tutu, "I never thought I would see the likes of this!"

"If you like that, you are going to love the Moon," said Marvel, "I would also suggest you two get some rest, so your internal clocks will not be upset to the point where you have problems when Ireturn you two to Tokyo."

"Where are Mytho and Fakir?" asked Rue.

Marvel pulled them to a window on the other side. They saw the same kind of craft outside, and they saw the boys, Mary, and Superman waving back at them. As they waved, Marvel said, "Now, let me get you two comfortable."

With that, he opened a compartment, and pulled out two sleeping bags. He unrolled them, and stuck the Velcro parts to the wall. From an Earth perspective, they would have looked like they would be sleeping standing up. However, out there, every direction was "up," and thus, from their perspective, they felt as if they were lying down. As Marvel strapped them into the bags, Tutu asked, "What if we are not sleepy?"

"In weightlessness, that is not a worry,"he said, "Notice that you two are still floating: it is not hard to fall asleep like this. Get ready for the most comfortable and refreshing sleep you two will have ever experienced. Just relax your whole body, and don't move. The bags are there just to keep you two from drifting away."

They were both already doing as he said, and found that a pillow and mattress were not needed here, because they would stay in whatever position they set themselves. They being inside the bag felt just as secure as being inside a mother's womb, floating free. As soon as they relaxed themselves, they were out. They slept so deeply that any dreams they would have had, they would not have remembered. Six hours later, a gentle alarm awoke them, and Marvel said, "Good morning, ladies: unzip and come to your seats, please. Gravity will be returning soon, and although it is only one sixth the Earth's gravity, the artificial gravity on the base is one G."

They did as they had been bidden, and the craft pulled up to a large, towering facility, that fanned out like a large flower. A tunnel door opened up, allowing both craft to enter, and they pulled up into a parking area where many other craft rested. Once stopped, the girls got up, and then felt a bit awkward now that gravity had returned. They went and retrieved their gifts and instruments, and stepped out. Superman welcomed them warmly, and then led them into the main room where the gathering would be taking place.

As they entered, they saw a great number of heroes, brightly clad in their costumes, but socializing as if such a sight were normal. Christmas music wafted over the sound system as the conversations went on. However, what they spoke about was not standard fare, as they were all sharing anecdotes of recent adventures. Superman brought them to the main table, and said, "Okay, ladies and gentle heroes, here are our new guests tonight. Meet the Secret Six!"

Everyone wheeled around to see the six standing there, and they all applauded. One of the heroes said, "Great to finally meet you!"

Another said, "We've been watching your adventures, and the last one with you two ladies was fantastic!"

Soon, a number of them gathered around, and the six then spread out and began to schmooze with the crowd of heroes. At first, it seemed odd to the five outside of Marvel, but they began to get the feel for things as they were being treated like peers. To Tutu, it seemed nice to be in a place where people accepted you for who you are, and were not judgmental. Dinner was called, and they all sat down to a great Christmas dinner. After that, more socializing took place, and some gifts were exchanged at that point. Tutu gave Marvel his gifts, and loved them. He also got a chuckle out of the Ernie doll, and said, "I guess you got me back for the duck, eh?"

"I only hope that it gives you good reminders of me, as the duck gives them to me of you," she said as she gently smiled, and looked lovingly into his eyes. Marvel then gave her his gifts: a dulcimer, and an instructional book for it, some more nice clothes, and he then pulled out a music box. It was a figurine of a yellow duck, and he said, "This has two songs on it that I was able to record and have put on it. All you have to do is press down on the duck's head, and it will play one of the two songs."

She pressed it, and out came a Beatles tune entitled "Julia." However, wherever"Julia" was supposed to be, Billy had replaced it with "Ahiru." Since it was he playing and singing, he was able to do this. When the song was done, the other song was "Kathy's Song," and she adored both songs. "Oh Bill..." she stopped herself, and whispered, "I'm sorry," and then said, "Thank you so much for the sweet gifts, Marvel."

She hugged and then kissed him. However, as she did, they heard, "All right you two; get a hotel, would ya?"
"Hello, Guy!" said Marvel, a bit annoyed, yet a bit amused. All Tutu could do was giggle and blush. "Tutu,"he said to her, "This is Green Lantern: Guy Gardner. Don't worry about identities, because everyone knows who he is!"

"Enchante, mademoiselle," he said in asomewhat debonair way, although it was still a bit Brooklyn in nature, as he kissed her hand. "Thank you, kind sir,"she said with a curtsey. Then Guy said,"Marvel, I'm jealous of you! I search for years, and you land such a vision of loveliness like that!"

"Go to an art school!" he said as he smiled, deftly took her by the arm, and began to stroll off nobly. He then laughed, and nudged Guy in such afashion as to have him come along. "Oh, the real reason why I came over here," Guy said, "was to tell you that Wonder Woman asked to talk to the girls, so I'm letting you know."

She thanked him for the information, kissed Marvel's cheek, and she went off to find Wonder Woman. Then Guy said, "So, tell me about your latest adventure," and they trailed off as they conversed.

Claire had already met up with Wonder Woman when Tutu approached, and she warmly smiled. "Welcome, sister princess!" said Wonder Woman, "I hope your time here has been pleasant!"

"It has been quite enjoyable," she answered, "and I love how warm and welcoming everyone has been. By the way, what did you mean by 'sister princess?'"

"Well, my real name is Princess Diana,"she answered, "and this is not a secret here, so do not worry. There are a couple of reasons why I wished to speak to you. First of all, I want you to meet someone."

At that, up rolled to them a very beautiful redhead who was wearing glasses and was sitting in a wheelchair. "This is Barbra Gordon," said Wonder Woman,"She used to be Batgirl, but unfortunately, thanks to a well-aimed bullet from a villain named the Joker, she has been paralyzed from the waste down."

Tutu took her hand tenderly, smiled asympathetic smile, and said, "I am so sorry."

However, Barbra would have none of it, laughed, and said, "Don't fret over it! I've gotten over it. Besides, because of what happened, I have just switched my crime fighting efforts to another way. In fact, it ended up ablessing in disguise, because I am now known as Oracle. I operate the JLA computer systems and database that all the other crime fighters use in their efforts, including Batman, and even Interpol. I also am able to fight crime through the computers, being able to reach out in a more powerful way than I ever have before, now including the fight against cyber crime that now is the scourge of the crime world. Even if I were to walk again, I would continue to do this."

"There are not many strong souls like you," said Tutu, "So many would be crushed under such thing."

"Hey, life hands you lemons, make lemonade!" Barbra laughed.

"However, if you ever wish to walk again, I know someone that might help," she said.

"Don't worry about it," she said, waiving it off, "Even if this person can heal, there is someone here that has tried, and she is quite powerful in that regard and she could not do anything. Besides, for me, it doesn't matter. All the Joker did was make me something more powerful that what he tried to destroy, and this chair is a reminder to me that a disability is no handicap if you don't want it to be. If I come out better because of someone's worst, then who has really won the fight?"

"So well said!" exclaimed Tutu.

"Who is the one of whom you speak?" Claire asked.

Barbra pointed over to a young woman in adark blue leotard and shoes, with long dark blue lower arm sheaths that opened below the fingers, held up with a single string between the middle and ring fingers, almost covered by a dark blue cloak, with a hood that came down to apoint revealing only half of her face. "Normally, she intermingles, but listens more than she talks," said Wonder Woman, "She is like you in the sense that she can make mind links and counsel, or do what needs to be done. She can also heal, and also has quite a powerful astral attack."

Tutu then observed, "But why is she standing alone right now?"

"To be honest," she said, "it is because of her name, and where she gets her power. She is afraid that you may hate her for that, and is scared how you would react."

"What is her name?" said Claire.

Wonder Woman hesitated, and said, "Please understand that the source of her power is not from that which you six fight against, but her name is Raven. It is partly due to how she came to be that she is, and has always been, somewhat of a recluse. It is because of that that she is frightened right now."

"Oh, I see," said Tutu, "and she thinks that we may attack her because of that. The poor thing, I am going to have to talk to her."

"Before you do," said Wonder Woman, "I want to tell you of something else that might interest you, and you need to know."

"What would that be?" said Claire.

Wonder Woman said, "Grab a seat, because this may take a bit."

Once they sat, she continued, saying,"Before I start, I just wanted to say that, if you kids were ever to get aheadquarters, Oracle can help set up a computer for you, and a crime lab. This is why I wanted you to meet. She will make it the best system you have ever seen, and yet, very easy for any of you to use. Now, let's get on to business. I have been back to my home, Paradise Island, and I have been doing some research on the Raven, which threatens your very existence. In that process, I also discovered something about the ancestry and genealogy of the both of you. Get ready for this! You two have connections back to Paradise Island."

They both looked at her in amazement, and then asked, "How is this possible?"

Wonder Woman then said, "Normally, if you do not wish it, no one here has to reveal their identities to anyone. However, the inner core of the Justice League, because of filming your efforts, and wanting to see how we may be able to aid you, we are aware of your identities. This only goes as far as the core group of heroes. I then traced both of your genealogies back, and it seems the both of you have a mutual ancestor that goes back about 15 centuries, and that ancestor goes back to Paradise Island itself."

Both of the Swan Sisters now leaned forward, keen to hear more. She continued, "On the island, at that time, there was a powerful woman who was anoble on the island, and she had two daughters. You will be pleased to know that they were both excellent fighters, graceful, and beautiful. I do believe that they also were good dancers; although what kind of dance they did, I do not know. I am certain it was not ballet, of course, because the form had not yet been invented. In any case, they were fine examples of Amazons, and were the envious admiration of everyone on the island. However, this Raven, whom you battle, had gained a bodily form by a sacrifice, threatened to take over the Earth, and then to plunge it into darkness. Yet, those two sisters, who were called the Swan Sisters, combined their powers and abilities, and managed to seal off the Raven from this realm. As an aside, it is interesting that they were called the White Swan, and the Black Swan, and each of you descend directly from your namesakes. Of course, what their real names were, we only know of one, and that was the Black Swan. The reason why you are called Claire is that Shazam must have known your history, and bestowed on you her name. The real name of the White Swan has been lost. I am certain it wasn't Tutu. By the way, why do you call yourself Tutu?"

"My only guess," said Tutu "is the fact that the sight of a beautiful Tutu is what attracted me into Edel's shop to begin with. Because of the close proximity of time of when I received the original pendant, and when I first became Tutu, the name stuck in my mind. Thus, I became Princess Tutu. That is only a guess, though."

Wonder Woman though for a minute, and then said, "Well, that does make sense. I kind of like the name! Anyway, let's get back to the story. These same powers are powers the two of you possess, yet may not realize it yet. The Raven, however, before he was sealed out, vowed revenge on either them, or their ancestors. From that time forward, he sought another heart to bring him back. Now, Mytho and Fakir play in like this: they are unrelated to you, but their ancestors fought off a sect of raven worshippers, and destroyed the cult, who was looking to make the sacrifice again, and bring back the Raven. The two boys are direct descendants of those knights, but are not related to you. It is just that they had their own story in relation. This is why things happened the way they did as children, because the Raven also seeks revenge on them as well, and to take Mytho's heart would be icing on the cake. It did not work the way he wanted, because he became more sealed off from this realm because of Mytho. It is only fate that has brought the lot of you together."

"Okay, I understand all that," said Claire, "However, how does she and I play into this?"

"This is where it gets interesting," said Wonder Woman, "After that initial battle with the Raven, their mother realized the danger that the island was in if they stayed, for they knew that the Raven could call minions to act for him, like they did with the Chess Knights ancestors, and fight for him. They did not want to see the Raven recruit any of the Amazons for this purpose, knowing that he would seek revenge wherever they were. Because of the danger she felt that her family posed to the island, they left and lived out mortal lives. Her daughters eventually wed, had children, and from there, the lines become very diverse. I just find it interesting that all the players ended up in the same place at the same time. I would not say that it was by design; however, I am certain it played right into the Raven's talons. He must have done some maneuvering to gain Edel as his liaison, and Edel was quite devilish in her plans. She sought to exact all vengeance at once, and possibly humiliating the lot of you in the process by turning the people who should have been allies against each other. He wanted to destroy you, and make a mockery of you and your ancestors in the process. He did not count on you two becoming friends and defeating him somehow. However, here is the thing: he is trying everything to return to this realm, and there is no telling how big this is going to be. The longer a time passes between her activity and the final conflict, the bigger a fight you six may have. Whenever this does happen, call us. Whoever can be there will be there. Besides, for the sake of all my Amazon sisters-and that includes the two of you-and for the sake of your ancestors, Iwant a part of this. This time, though, it cannot just stop at banishment. He has to be destroyed."

"How are we going to do that?" asked Tutu.

"I don't know," Wonder Woman answered, "But give me some more time to research. I am beginning to wonder if he being destroyed ties into Mytho, his ancestor, or both. I wonder if he has the ability to destroy the Raven. It would explain the desire for his heart above others. If he can get a pure heart, and destroy the one that could destroy him, it would be asweet victory for him indeed. Well, this is what I wanted to tell you. I though this might interest you two, and maybe give you some help when the time comes to fight."

They thanked her for the information, and then began to ponder their past, and their blood. They had Amazon blood running through the both of them, and they both had untapped powers of which they needed it figure out how to gain access. In the meantime, Tutu wanted to set someone at ease.

Tutu approached Raven with a gentle smile, and very slowly, in hopes that she did not try to wander away. Raven looked up in time to see her approach, and wanted to get out of there, but the smile of Tutu made her hesitate. "Please, dear Raven, do not fear," said Tutu,"for we would never mean you any harm."

Raven hung her head a bit more, and said very sadly, "If you knew that which sired me, you would want nothing to do with me."

"It cannot be all that bad," reasoned Tutu.

Raven looked up, but it was hard to see her eyes with how the hood was pulled over her head, and she said, "You are fighting a demon-like creature, are you not?"

"Yes, that is true," said Tutu.

"Then if you knew what it was that had ahand in siring me," she answered, "then you would want nothing to do with me."

"What did this, then?" Tutu asked, "I can help you: I dance to guide your heart."

Raven thought for a bit, and then said, "I can sense about you that you have a large, caring heart, with no malice within it, so I believe that, if I tell you, you will not shy away, as so many others have done once they know the truth."

Tutu smiled, and said, "Can you do what Ican do?"

Raven gracefully put her hand to her mouth, smiled a touch, and said,"Well, I guess so."

"Then," said Tutu, "Please tell me."

Raven found it hard to talk about this to anyone, but Tutu was very disarming, and just had an aura about her that made you feel you could trust her. Raven then said, "Okay, here it goes: there was once a woman who was convinced by an occult group that, if she had relations with he who they worshipped, her offspring would be something powerful and great for the world. When she arrived in the realm of this being, what she saw was the most handsome man she had ever seen. However, when the act was done, this being revealed his true self: a demon. However, she was rescued by some kind and wise men, who were enemies of this group, and did all they could to be sure this offspring was raised to be akind and powerful aid to all mankind. That offspring was I. The intent of this demon was to create a child through whom he could conquer the world, and later, the universe. When I was in my early teens, he confronted me, and I wanted nothing to do with him. I tried to resist him with all the gifts the wise men knew were within me and fostered in me, and caused to flourish, but it was to no avail. However, he did not try to destroy me, but kept me constantly frustrated to the point where my rage got the better of me, and a raven spirit that lives within me-not the one you fight, mind you-came forth, prepared to make an astral attack. That was his goal. He wanted to know if this had manifested itself within me. This was the power he wanted to see if I had, and if he could use one day. However, he did not count on how well the wise men did their work, because he was never able to coerce me to his side, and later, I was able to defeat him forever. Now, I work with the Titans, but I have never gotten over my introverted ways."

She grew silent for a moment, as if to collect her thoughts, "I guess that, though they know that I am a friend, and that I would never hurt anyone, knowing my origins makes them frightened, as if what is now a useful attack would end up gaining a mind of its own, and try to destroy them. I guess my power scares them a bit."

"A bit ironic, don't you think?" asked Tutu. Raven got a quizzical look on her face, tilted her head, and looked at Tutu oddly. "What do you mean?" she asked.

"Well, I mean, look at all the heroes around here," she said, "With all their origins and with all their powers, why should they be scared. Look at the Marvels. From what I understand, they are indestructible when they are what they are right now. Do you not think that they could easily subdue you if it came to that? Normally, I link with minds to have talks like this, but I feel that this would not be necessary with you. Anyway, is it that they are sacred of you, or is it that you are scared of what you could do to them if you get out of control? Do you subconsciously do things to keep people at a distance?"

Raven now stared amazedly at her, realizing, for the first time, that it may have been her keeping people at adistance all the time. "You know, Ithink I have known this all along, and I have never admitted this to myself."

She hung her head a bit, and looked ready to cry, but Tutu lifted her chin with her finger, and smiled at her, saying,"Its okay! Sometimes there are things that we do that we do not realize, or do not want to accept, because of one silly thing or another: we all have, and I know I have! However, overcoming those things is not very hard, because they are usually small things anyway. Yet, I think there is a deeper fear that you have that causes you to keep people at a distance, and that is, because of your origin, you worry about how people will treat and view you. Well, let me tell you, if they are not willing to accept you for who you are, and what you are, and they are not willing to learn to love you for what it is that makes you unique, are they really your friends? If not, they are the ones that lose, not you. Do you love yourself? I'm sure there is lots to love about yourself, isn't there."

Now Raven was blushing and smiling, and Tutu said, "Now that is a little more like it!"

"You are not scared of me?" asked Raven.

Tutu giggled, and said, "Why should I be?"

Raven said, "Oh, thank you!" and hugged Tutu, who returned the embrace. Tutu then said, "Know this: if you ever need somewhere to go, and someone to be with that does care, come to us, and we will take you in. You have friends, and you are not alone."

"Thank you," said Raven, "And when the time comes to take on this raven demon, I want to help. That would be ironic, would it not: a raven fighting a raven?"

"Well, know that I do not hate the bird,"said Tutu, "we just do not like this one raven. We even have a raven butler in our home!"

"A raven as a butler!" she laughed and exclaimed, "How is that possible?"

"Come," she said, "Let us go get some refreshments, and I'll tell you all about it!"

About ten minutes later, Tutu noticed that Batman was sitting all by himself by the crime lab computers. Tutu asked Raven, "Is he on duty or something?"

"Well, let us just say that he likes to keep the vigil while we celebrate," said Raven.

"Did he eat?" Tutu asked.

"We saved a plate for him," said Raven. Tutu noticed the serious, solemn look on his face, and said, "Where is that plate?"

She received the plate, and all the utensils, and went to serve the meal. She approached from the side so as not to startle him, and said, "They saved a plate for you. It's all right here."

Without even looking up, he said, "Just set the things right here," in a way that reminded her much of Fakir in one of his more sour moods. "Nonsense!" said Tutu,"I want you to enjoy a good meal too, even if you have to work."

He looked over, and was about to protest, but her gentle smile and demeanor was disarming. He could do nothing but to go ahead and let her take care of things. She opened the lid, set the plate before him, and then spread out the silverware in a proper place setting, and then she said, "I'll be right back!" with a great big smile on her face. Batman could see that she certainly enjoyed doing this, and doing things for people in general. He knew that she was indeed a capable hero, but he never realized how capable "capable" was. She returned with a large glass of eggnog, and said, "You cannot have a Christmas dinner without this!"

Despite how much he did not want to, he could not help but effect a grin on his face to all this doting. He finally said, "You remind me so much of my butler, Alfred."

"Oh?" she responded, "How so?"

"Well, he's not just some servant,"answered Batman, "He has been a friend, mentor, father figure, and even my conscience at times! Sometimes, I get so caught up in a case of one sort or another, that he and Robin have to force me to make sure that I get the basic staples and such-generally, to make sure that I take care of myself."

At this point, she knelt by his chair like she was his mother, doting over the smallest of things that he had to say, and showed a look on her face that seemed like she was enjoying every minute of it. "What a big, caring heart you must have," she said, "to care so much for yourself that your own well being takes aback seat. Of course, if that happens, it is hard to show your care when you are in bed sick."

He chuckled, and said, "Yes, you're just like Alfred!"

She though for a minute, and then effected a concerned look on her face, asking, "And, what do you think he would say if he saw you right now?"

His head lowered a bit, and he said, "He would probably ask me, 'What are you doing sitting there? Is there not a Christmas party going on right now?'"

"Then, I guess I'll ask for him," she said, but he responded to this by saying, "Someone has to do this."

"Is there not some kind of alarm system that could alert us of trouble, and allow you to join us?" she pressed.

"I don't always trust it," he said, "A computer sometimes does not know one thing from another with respect to a crime or disaster. Humans do it better."

"I though Oracle designed this?" she asked, "Was she not under you at one time? Could she not have programmed it with that in mind?"

Suddenly, Batman did not like where the whole thing was going. He was getting the third degree, and he had his reasons he cared not to express as to his reasons for what he did, especially at that moment. "Look," he said, firmly, but not scolding,"For me, Christmas is just another day. Crime doesn't care what day it is: it strikes when it wants, and we cannot let our guard down. So, if you please, I have work to do."

She wanted to say further, but she began to realize that it would have been futile to try to argue this point. She knew what she really wanted to do, but she wasn't sure how he would take it, and he did not seem like the kind that would appreciate someone wanting to root around in his head. However, the whole scene was not unobserved.

She stood up, and began to walk away feeling sad for this man, and that is when she ran into Robin and Nightwing. "Don't feel bad, princess,"said Nightwing, "Robin and I have tried to break through that for years, and we still haven't gotten him to loosen up."

"I don't understand," she said, "This is Christmas: everyone should enjoy themselves at Christmas."

"Well, its always hard on him this time of year," said Robin, "The ones that he wants to spend time with are no longer with us."

"That is so sad," she said, "but we can still enjoy Christmas."

"It's how he lost them," said Nightwing,"This is why he is the way he is."

"What happened," she said, her heart dropping into her shorts.

"He and I share something in common," said Nightwing, "We both had our parents murdered: his were murdered right in front of him."

That rocked her back, and she wanted to, at that moment, rush right up and hug him with all her might. Nightwing continued, "There is a difference between him and me, though. I think it has something to do with both of our upbringings. He was brought up in a rich family; I was raised in the circus."

"What would make the difference in that case," she asked.

"In the circus," Nightwing answered, "one has to deal with hardships all the time. I'm not saying that lessens what happened to my parents, nor am I saying that it makes me a better person because I handled it differently. It's just that one learns how to gain closure on things a bit sooner. I mean, he and Iboth were able to avenge ourselves on those that denied us normal families. However, in the hard life of the circus, one learns to roll with the punches, no matter how hard things are. I was always prepared for that day, considering that the three of us were a trapeze act, and we knew that, on any given night, something could go wrong, and it would be all over. We flirted with death almost nightly, thus we knew death could come at anytime for any of us in any form. Considering how they went, it was still hard. However, he took me in, gave me achance to avenge their deaths, and gain closure. From that day forward, to honor their memories, I dedicated my life to fighting crime, because I know that they would be happy that I took life's lemons and made lemonade."

"Then, if he gained closure as well, why is he so brooding?" she asked.

"Well, he lived the life of the sheltered kid," he answered, "so hardships were rare for him. He was never used to being denied things. Therefore, when this happened, it hit him like a ton of bricks. He too dedicated his life to fighting crime-on his parents' graves! He does what he does out of vengeance. It is his hatred for crime that he feels denied him from a family that drives him."

"Then he is driven by obsession," she then said.

"That's about the size of it," he answered.

She thought for a moment, and then said,"Does he not see the family around him?"

"I have said the same thing for years," he answered, "and I always thought of him and Alfred as my family. I don't know why he can't see that. However, I gave up a long time ago in getting it through to him, and just dealt with it."

She though again, and then said, "Could it be then that the right connections to things have not been made?"

"Princess," he said, worried about what she was going to do next, "You may be an irresistible force, but he is the Immovable Object. If you try, you may not like how he reacts. He may forget who he is, and do something that both he and you will regret."

"If that is the case," she said, "Then something has got to give."

With that, Robin and Nightwing looked in horror as she went back over to him, and prepared to do her thing. "Oh, God," thought Robin, "There went the night!"

She walked up to Batman, who was aware of her approach, but not her intentions. Before he could say anything or react, she put her hands on the points between his shoulders and neck. For the split second before the link was made, he was enraged, and was going to let her know that this was not a welcome thing. Yet, it was only for a split second, and then he began to feel warmth and peace overcoming him. She weighed her words carefully, because she did not want to alienate him. She then said into his head, "Dearest Batman: there is no way I could ever, ever know, or comprehend, the pain that you have felt, or now feel. I do want to let you know that you are loved, and that you can have peace. I can tell you that from where your mother and father are, they are smiling, and they are proud of their son, knowing that he has done all that he can to make sure that no other little boy has to stand on a street and cry the way you did. They love you, and love how you honor their memories by not wasting your life, and making a difference for so many people, making sure that all those families you have helped stay families."

She then slid her hands across his chest, and leaned her cheek on his, pecked it, and gave him a big hug, as she rocked him back and forth. For him, it no longer seemed just her there, but it seemed like there were two others with her. Of course, she did not channel spirits, but because of how she was linked to him, it blurred the dream state with reality, and the memories of his parents took on a real state. Because of how this felt, he could no longer feel mad at her, for he knew that she only did what she did because she cared. She then said, "That was a big hug and kiss from your mom and dad, they wish you a Merry Christmas, and they are so glad that you have such a great big and loving family all around you through whom they can share the holidays with you this year, and every year. Come and join your family, dearest Batman."

She stood up, and walked away. Robin and Nightwing could not believe what they had just seen: she had done her thing, and she walked away without a word from Bruce. As she did, a call for everyone to gather by the tree for some carols was made, and Claire said, "Come on, Tutu, come and get your autoharp and join us!"

She did, and there was a place reserved for her in the makeshift band that consisted of several heroes. What she did not see was the shocked look on the faces of Robin and Nightwing when Batman lifted up the front of his cowl, took the napkin, started to wipe away the tears from his eyes, and then watched him get up, and walk to the group of singers. The band had already gone through one stanza of "White Christmas," when, at the start of the second stanza, a rich, baritone voice cut in and began to sing. The others did not stop singing, but they did look over to the source of the voice, and gazed in wonderment. Standing there, singing at the top of his lungs, and with all the gusto he could muster, was the Batman. Others in the band looked over at Tutu, but she just continued to look at the music and play, as she contentedly grinned. Robin then said to Nightwing, "Boy, Bruce was right: she can really pack a punch!"

The party was a smashing success, and as athrill to end the night, everyone that needed one was suited up in space suits and was allowed to walk on the lunar surface. Of course, the suits that the Justice League used were far from the bulky things that the original lunar astronauts had worn, and they allowed full movement for the wearer. The Chess Knights did a few manage about the surface, and they were able to spin a few more times than normal on the lunar surface. Claire did a fast grande fouette, and then, with all her might, did a jette that took her about the length of a football field, and then cleared the distance again, to which everyone applauded a soundless applause on the airless moon. Tutu then made sure that she was not seen, and then picked up and hid a moon rock. She was not going to leave without a souvenir of this trip. Of course, she could never tell anyone that she had been to the moon, but at least she would have that. After that, goodbyes were said, and they all prepared to go home. Raven then said,"Please do write often, Tutu: it is so nice to have a friend like you, who can understand me like you do, and accept me the way that you do."

"Will you be in New York the last two weeks of March?" Tutu asked, "The Secret Six will be there to do some training with some of the senior members of the JLA, so I hope we can see each other then."

"Yes, I will," said Raven, "and I cannot wait until then. Moreover, remember: when it comes time to take down this Edel woman, I want to be there. Someone has to bring back the good name of the ravens everywhere!"

They both laughed at this statement, and embraced. Tutu said, "See you then, beautiful Raven."

"See you then, Graceful Swan," Raven said in return.

The girls slept on the trip back, because their return would put them back at their homes about the time that they would be getting up from bed. This way, their families would be none the wiser about where they had been, or what they had been doing. Before she went to sleep, she pulled out the music box, and played the songs on the box as she drifted off to sleep. They were able to return to their homes quite discreetly, and were able to go into Christmas Eve as if they had never been away. "Well, I hope you have a Merry Christmas, Baby Duck," said Marvel, "and I'll pick you up at the airport when we return."

"Yep," said Ahiru, "We have the second semester."

"Are you going for the advanced class?" he asked.

"Are you?" she asked in returned.

"Of course," he answered, "are you going to be okay in putting it together?"

"Rue and I are going to work on it before we come back," she said, "and I know I can do it."

Ahiru then began to sing "The Wind beneath My Wings," to him, and kissed him. Of course, if anyone had seen this, they would have thought him some kind of a molester, not knowing the truth of things. However, because of the situation, this was perfectly normal. "Bye, Baby Duck," said Marvel.

"Bye, Rubber Ducky," said Ahiru, and he went his way. She then pulled out the moon rock, and looked at it for a few minutes, remembering the party, the new friends she had made, and the news of her past. Maybe one day, she and Rue would be able to go to Paradise Island and learn their heritage-one day.

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